I mentioned measurement and evaluation from the Barcelona Principles posts last time. The next amended principle I drafted is about value and cost.
The principle I suggested is:
Learning cost figures are not the value of learning
I’ve always had a feeling that people in learning have considered that something purchased is better than something free. I’ve done it myself – the act of going through a procurement process creates a need for the ‘thing’ to ‘work’. We do this to both justify expense and to refrain from using nil/neutral cost alternatives.
Since cash is invested in something, we tend to want to ‘prove’ it’s worked. What this means in learning terms is an over-reliance in the learning costs, in the same way there is an over-reliance on the other learning data – site visits, people in the room, etc.
An input on it’s own can never provide a value judgement. For that to happen, both outputs and outcomes are required to complete the equation.
By all means, include the learning cost figures but make sure that your co-efficients and data are reflecting the real world and not just the perceived value that learning attaches to the expensive investment.